Best Places to Hunt: Lease vs. Public Land vs. Ranch

Carly Brasseux // January 16

“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.” – Fred Bear

What are the best places to hunt? Where do people hunt? Some people hunt on leases, some hunt on public land, and some own ranches (or use their friends: important note – make friends with people who own a ranch!). It can be hard to start hunting as a hobby if you don’t know other hunters, but it’s still possible!

Lease: A lease is land owned by someone else, but you “rent” or lease the hunting rights. For example, we lease the deer hunting on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle, but another family leases the quail hunting. Leases are one of the best places to hunt.

  • Pro: If you don’t have enough money to own or buy land, a lease is a great option. We’ve been on our lease for 10+ years.
  • Con: Be aware the owner can decide to stop the agreement at any time and it’s not a home base like a ranch would be.
  • Con A lease can get expensive. After a few years, you may be tempted to think of your paid lease fees and the nest egg you could have put toward the purchase of your own.
  • Con: More and more public land is being purchased by wealthy investors for the sole purpose of leasing the land, giving hunters fewer opportunities to hunt public.
  • Pro: It’s a simple way for a hunter to guarantee they have a place to hunt.
  • Pro: A lease can provide a lot of freedom as to how much time you can “rent” the land (one day to 10 years!), what can and cannot be harvested, and other factors which can be agreed upon by a land owner and hunter.
Best Places to Hunt

Public land: This is land the government owns, but as a taxpayer, you have rights to and share with other citizens.

  • Pro: This is for anyone who wants to hunt and is the perfect option if you don’t have a lease or ranch. Do your public duty and hunt public land (you thought I was going to say vote, huh?).
  • Pro: There are different regulations in each state as to what land can be hunted, so always make sure to check out the Bureau of Land Management‘s website.
  • Con: The downside of public land is that it can be overcrowded and hard to hunt because so many hunters push out the animals.
  • Pro: If you’re hesitant to pay for a lease, don’t have enough money for a ranch, need a challenge, or even want to meet other outdoorsmen, public land is a great option.

Ranch: A ranch is land you own. This is the American Dream for hunters and outdoorsmen.

  • Con: These can be expensive to purchase, but also expensive to manage. You are responsible for all upkeep and animal and land management, although you can always lease the land to other hunters to offset the expenses.
  • Pro: On your own land, you learn everything about your animals. You have your blinds, trail cams, and watering holes – you know your land and the animals on it.
  • Pro: It’s the perfect place to create memories with family and friends.

What is the best place to hunt? Do you have a lease or ranch or do you use public land?

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About the Author

Carly Brasseux

Carly Brasseux is a determined and passionate freelance outdoor writer, published author, business owner and social media/marketing consultant based in Texas. In a world where women are the fastest growing segment of the hunting population, she is a major proponent of those women wanting to learn more about the outdoors and hunting. Her handle, Miss Pursuit, is an expression of her enthusiasm for all things outdoors, from educating women through her experiences learning to hunt over the last decade, to getting out with her kids to explore the wild. Her expertise in social media and marketing, as well as her vast network of people in the outdoor industry, have given her the influence to make an impact for years to come. Member of the Mule Deer Foundation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Stewards of the Wild and the Texas Wildlife Association.